Science Pub Portland: Designing Gloves and Tools

DEC 6, 2018 | 7-9PM

Gimmie 5! The Challenges of Designing Gloves and Tools for Today’s Athletes and Workers

With Susan Sokolowski, PhD, Director and Associate Professor in the Department of Product Design at the University of Oregon

December 6, 2018 | 7-9PM; Doors Open @ 5PM | All Ages

$5 advance purchase for guaranteed seats; $5 suggested donation at the door. Tickets available online or at the OMSI front desk until midnight the day prior to the event; see below for details.


The hand is one of the most complex parts of the human body. Each hand is made-up of about 27 bones, 123 ligaments, 29 joints and 34 muscles. It flexes, abducts and adducts, gestures, exerts brute force, and yet can be so graceful. When we teach students how to draw the human hand, we instruct them to block-out the sketch based on a set of proportions. These are well defined in classic drawing and anatomy literature. For glove designers, the human hand is also a complex interface to innovate new products for. These drawing proportions are often used to determine functional design features, including: flex zones, padding, gussets, touch screen pads and seams on gloves. However, are these proportions accurate? Are we putting the glove user in danger because of the way the designer has been taught to depict the hand? Let’s get to the bottom of this and uncover the truth. The lecture will review methods used to draw and measure the hand for anthropometric research and product design.


Susan L Sokolowski, PhD is the Director and Associate Professor of the Sports Product Design Graduate Program, at the University of Oregon. She has over 25 years of performance sporting goods experience, working cross-functionally between footwear, apparel and equipment in creative and strategic roles. Her work is holistic in nature, where consideration of the athlete’s body form, performance, psychology, sport, materials and styling are addressed to develop game-changing innovation solutions. She is specifically focused on issues surrounding design of products for special populations, including women and disabled athletes. Susan has been recognized internationally for her achievements in design and innovation, including over 35 utility patents, awards from Nike, the United States Olympic Committee and Volvo. A motivational coach and mentor, Susan is committed to inspiring students in product design, development and business. Susan is a graduate of the University of Minnesota (PhD), Cornell University (MA) and the Fashion Institute of Technology (BFA).


OMSI Science Pub at the Mission Theater is a ticketed event. To guarantee a seat at this event, please buy tickets online or at the OMSI front desk. Advanced tickets will be available for purchase until 11:59pm on the day prior to the event. Please show your ticket at the theater entrance upon arrival.


If the event sells out, we will update the website and Facebook listings accordingly. If the event does not sell out in advance, attendance will be first-come, first-served at the door and at-the-door admission will remain a suggested donation.


Science Pub Mission is a monthly event that is open to anyone and everyone – no scientific background required. Just bring your curiosity, sense of humor, and appetite for food, drinks and knowledge! For more information or to sign up for our mailing list, email:


Dinner and drinks will be available throughout the presentation. Please visit the McMenamins Mission Theater website for a dinner menu and venue information.